Menstrual health and awareness are more accessible than ever. However, there may be some things you may not know, such as retrograde menstruation. This refers to when your period flows upward through your fallopian tube and into your pelvis instead of your vagina. It’s common among most women. The condition is harmless but can predispose you to endometriosis, whereby the endometrium grows outside the uterus.
What are the symptoms of retrograde menstruation?
It doesn’t have any significant symptoms. This is because your period still flows like normal.
Menstrual pain can occur, but because of how common it is, it’s not necessarily a sign of retrograde menstruation. If you are in extreme pain, get medical attention.
In addition, you may notice a lighter period.
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What causes retrograde menstruation?
Most of the research around it focuses on endometriosis. There is no consensus on what causes retrograde menstruation.
Some research suggests that having a small cervix can make it more likely to occur. Genetics can also increase the likelihood of experiencing it.
Doctors also believe it increases the risk of endometriosis because endometrium tissue can move with the menstrual blood to the pelvis. If the cells aren’t expelled, it can lead to future instances of endometriosis.
Retrograde menstruation is identified with a laparoscopy. This surgical procedure examines the pelvis, abdominal and reproductive organs. A thin tube is passed through a small cut in the abdomen, and the doctor uses the telescope to observe your organs. It’s usually recommended if ultrasounds or X-rays can’t help.
Should you get treatment?
Since retrograde menstruation is normal, it would only require treatment if there are other conditions like debilitating pain or endometriosis. You can be prescribed hormone treatments or a hormonal intra-uterine device can reduce or lower menstrual flow.
The body usually reabsorbs the reversed blood.
What else do you need to know about your period?
Black discharge: This happens during your period. Blood turns black or dark brown when it oxidizes. Your flow is usually slower at the start and end of your period. The blood expels after a long time. As a result, it turns a darker colour. Black or dark brown spotting before or after your period can also result from blood leftover from the last period.
If the discharge has a foul odour, you should see a doctor. It can be because of a foreign object that irritates the vaginal wall. It can also be because of toxic shock syndrome.
Toxic Shock Syndrome: It is a rare, life-threatening bacterial infection. It can affect anyone. However, it’s more commonly known to affect women who have left tampons in for too long.
TSS escalates quickly. The symptoms include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Red eyes, lips, and tongue
- Difficulty breathing
If you notice these symptoms, get to a hospital emergency room immediately. Treatment may include antibiotics, fluids, purified antibodies, or surgery.
TSS happens when tampons are left longer than the recommended time, using barrier contraceptives, infected open wounds, childbirth, and packings are used to treat a nosebleed or throat infection.
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